Pakistan is close to finalize a purchase of Mi-35 ‘Hind E’ attack helicopters from Russia, Dawn reported Thursday.
“The agreement will be signed very soon,” Dawn quoted an unnamed military source as saying soon after the conclusion of Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif’s three-day visit to Moscow.
The two countries had signed a bilateral defense co-operation agreement last November followed by another ‘technical cooperation agreement’ to pave the way for sale of defense equipment to Pakistan, the newspaper reported.
Although there was no formal word on the outcome of the meeting, the source said: “There was significant movement towards operationalizing the defense accord, including defense acquisitions.”
The army chief spent about 15 hours at an arms expo near Moscow that featured Russia’s cutting edge weapons and military equipment. He inspected not only the weapon systems on display but also saw their live demonstration.
Besides helicopters, Pakistan also appears interested in other Russian hardware.
“The army chief spent whole of June 16 witnessing dynamic defense expo. Highly impressive display of all types of arms, aircraft, and helicopters,” military spokesman Maj Gen Asim Bajwa, who accompanied the army chief on the Russia visit, tweeted.
“Discussed ways to enhance cooperation, more military exchanges to benefit from each other’s combat experience,” Gen Bajwa said about the visit.
The army chief held talks with Russian Land Forces Commander Colonel General Oleg Sayukov, Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov and other defense leaders.
The army chief also met Sergey Narishkin, Chairman of State Duma of Russian Federation.
Gen Bajwa in his tweet quoted Mr Narishkin as having said that Russia “will stand by Pakistan in its fight against terrorism and extremism for stability in the region. Our relations are independent, more consistent, and will further grow”.